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5 Jamaicans fail doping tests

24 July 2009

Five members of the Jamaican team for next month's world athletics championships have been recalled home after testing positive for a banned substance, a Jamaican anti-doping official said on Friday.

"All five athletes who were members of the squad to the world championships have been pulled immediately and will return to Jamaica for a hearing," the official, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.

Earlier the official confirmed that five track athletes had tested positive for a "minor substance".

He said none of the athletes, who had tested positive at the national championships in Kingston last month, were medallists at last year's Beijing Olympics.

Two were members of the newly formed Racers Track Club which includes triple Olympic champion and world record holder Usain Bolt. His coach Glen Mills also works at the club.

"It's frightening, but all five tested positive for the same drug, although the five trained almost under different circumstances," the official said.

"I can tell you that none of the world stars are involved. The drug itself is not an anabolic steroid and is considered a minor drug, meaning that with a good explanation at a hearing, the athlete could get off with a reprimand."

Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding summoned officials of the Jamaica Anti-doping Agency and the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association to a meeting on Friday to discuss the reports.


"The meeting ended a short while ago and a statement is to be issued shortly," one participant told Reuters.

Forty-seven samples were collected from athletes by representatives of the Jamaica Anti-doping Agency during last month's national championship and sent to a laboratory in Montreal.

Sprinter Julien Dunkley was axed from Jamaica's squad for the Beijing Games last year after his urine sample showed traces of the banned steroid Boldenone.

Dunkley, who would have been part of the men's 4x100 metres relay squad, was banned for two years. He has denied taking a prohibited substance.

Jamaica's sprinters swept the board at the Olympic Games last year with Bolt winning the 100 and 200 gold medals in world record time while Shelly-Ann Fraser and Veronica Campbell-Brown won the women's 100 and 200 titles.

The men's 4x100 relay team, which included Bolt and former 100 world record holder Asafa Powell, also won gold in a world record time.

"Actually I heard that was a rumour...I don't know much about that, you'll just have to ask my agent," Bolt told the BBC at the London grand prix where he was competing in the 100 metres.

"I heard a rumour, my friend called me and told me that he heard some guys were positive but I'm not worried."

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